Two Books to Get, that Get It: Companions in the Darkness & Unravel.

Read, read, read. Read everything -- trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You'll absorb it. Then write. If it's good, you'll find out. If it's not, throw it out of the window. ― William Faulkner One of the perks of being a writer is fellow authors send me their books. This week I've been blessed to read two books that have helped me expand my literary companionships. Diana Gruver and Greg Ralls "get" the experience of living with mental health challenges and their stories depict this so well.   Companions in the Darkness: Seven Saints Who Struggled with Depression and Doubt by Diana Gruver, Chuck DeGroat (Foreword) The church's relationship with depression has been fraught: for centuries, depression was assumed to be evidence of personal sin or even demonic influence. The depressed [...]

Two Books to Get, that Get It: Companions in the Darkness & Unravel.2021-02-24T19:28:00-05:00

When Divine Delight Meets Human Despair: A Sample.

Now that the audio version of When Despair Meets Delight is available,* I'm looking forward to how we can get it in the ears of prospective listeners. back along the arduous journey of the publication process. Some find self-publishing easy. Just write something. Plug it into a Kindle service. Punch a few user-friendly buttons and -- bim, bam, boom -- out pops a book. Looking back, I wish I had taken an easier path. But nothing is ever easy for me. I prefer to suffer. I'd like to think that choosing a more rugged, less traveled road would lead me to a greater destination. But it doesn't always. There is no guarantee that the amount of effort we put into something will directly corelate to the finished product. To say that the road to my book has been rugged would be an understatement. Not only were there detours, but head-on [...]

When Divine Delight Meets Human Despair: A Sample.2021-02-21T18:33:49-05:00

When 100% is 100% Too Much, Less Becomes Much Better

It's been two weeks now since I returned home from an inpatient stay at the local psychiatric hospital. I can't say I feel 100%, but my improvement is really quite remarkable. In fact, it may be best that I'm not 100% the way I was before going in because that 100% was about 100% too much. I wasn't living well within my limits. I was trying to be everyone for everybody, including myself. In one 15 day stretch, I slept a total of 30 hours. Thank God I had so many people praying for me and ready to intervene when I was willing to ask for help. Being on a psych unit at any time can be a bit unnerving. Being on one during a pandemic is downright frightening. At least it was for me. But the staff did a tremendous job allaying my fears. More than anything, they modeled [...]

When 100% is 100% Too Much, Less Becomes Much Better2021-02-18T20:22:21-05:00

Hear the Good News: When Despair Meets Delight Audiobook Launches Ash Wednesday

Most pastors would be shocked to know how many people in their church family live with or are directly impacted by mental illness. Stigma continues to keep mental illness silent in the church. Parents who sit in church pews week after week feel completely alone in bearing the pain of their son’s or daughter’s mental illness because they are embarrassed or afraid to say anything. The person sitting next to them may be carrying the same burden but who would know. And they will continue to carry these burdens alone until the church is willing to talk about it. -- Mark Teike, Pastor; St. Peter's Lutheran LCMS (Columbus, IN), from the Foreword of When Despair Meets Delight. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent. This year it lands on February 17 -- this week! Lent is a season to take spiritual inventory of our relationship with God, others, and self. [...]

Hear the Good News: When Despair Meets Delight Audiobook Launches Ash Wednesday2021-02-16T17:17:32-05:00

My First Valentine, Forever: Patsy Lou (McPeak) Kurtz

Hey Mom, it's one snowy Valentine's Day around here. Crisp, clear, and sunny. It's a good day to lay around like an old yard dog and do a whole lot of nothing. That's what Briley is doing right now, perched like a princess beside me. I really miss you, Mom. I've lost count of the number of times I started to pick up the phone only to realize Verizon doesn't go to Heaven. It's been a terribly difficult year. A pandemic. Racial unrest. Political insurrection. You died two days after your birthday. I'm glad you were able to enjoy that vanilla milkshake that day and that you didn't suffer undue hardship. Your passing was much harder for us than for you, I suspect. Suddenly. Complications for COVID. I'm grateful I got to pray with you before you breathed your last. I thank God that both you and dad held onto [...]

My First Valentine, Forever: Patsy Lou (McPeak) Kurtz2021-02-14T12:38:06-05:00

What comes after When Despair Meets Delight? — Next Steps.

I’m been on quasi-sabbatical, letting go of some of my busyness to make room for God’s business in my life and ministry. For over a year now, my time has been consumed by my When Despair Meets Delight book and, while there are still things to do to “get it out there,” my mind can now mostly pivot to my next book, my next project, my next dream to pursue. It has been said of writers that there is nothing more terrifying than a blank page. Starting over is daunting for anyone, particularly when it seems we are starting from scratch. We can fool ourselves into believing we have to magically discover the one right thing to do out of an infinite number of wrong choices. This is the Enemy’s convincing lie designed to paralyze us from faithful action. I am devoting this season of transition to discerning prayer. I’m [...]

What comes after When Despair Meets Delight? — Next Steps.2020-10-18T22:04:10-04:00

from When Despair Meets Delight – a spiritual encounter

I have absolutely no pleasure in the stimulants in which I sometimes so madly indulge. It has not been in the pursuit of pleasure that I have periled life and reputation and reason. It has been the desperate attempt to escape from torturing memories, from a sense of insupportable loneliness and a dread of some strange impending doom.  ~ Edgar Allan Poe Share with the LORD’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. (Romans 12.13)   chapter five - spiritual encounter   I had a good friend in college, Steve Franz, who used to say, I drink and smoke because they are the best ways I know to commit suicide in a manner deemed acceptable by society. I’m convinced no one really wants to kill themselves. We just want to stop the pain. We want to silence the voices. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 9.2 [...]

from When Despair Meets Delight – a spiritual encounter2020-09-14T19:45:55-04:00

from When Despair Meets Delight: Denise on a Mission (TRIGGER ALERT)

"Look to the living, love them, and hold on." ~ Kay Redfield Jamison. "O God, who gave us birth, you are ever more ready to hear than we are to pray. You know our needs before we ask, and our ignorance in asking. Show us now your grace, that as we face the mystery of death we may see the light of eternity. Speak to us once more your solemn message of life and of death. Help us to live as those who are prepared to die. And when our days here are ended, enable us to die as those who go forth to live,so that living or dying, our life may be in Jesus Christ our risen LORD. Amen." ~ Book of Common Worship Daily Prayer   from CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE: denise on a mission   The best opportunities I had to serve in ministry together with youth and adults [...]

from When Despair Meets Delight: Denise on a Mission (TRIGGER ALERT)2020-09-10T23:10:41-04:00

When Despair Meets Delight on Amazon

When your market value is over $1 trillion, you enjoy certain privileges. One of these privileges is getting what you want, when you want it, for as cheap as you want it. This is the story of Amazon. This week, the Kindle version of When Despair Meets Delight came out on Amazon. Next week, they will be releasing my print book. On the one hand, this is cause for celebration. Amazon can reach readers far greater than I can. With their help, I can better cultivate hope for those impacted by brain illnesses is advanced. This is proving to be the case, as my book has shot up to #1 in Bipolar Disorder, above Carrie Fisher's book. I am grateful for this and pray that lives are changed as a result of Amazon's service. At the same time, I am conflicted. I have loyal and faithful supporters who invested in [...]

When Despair Meets Delight on Amazon2020-08-23T20:53:53-04:00

When Despair Meets Delight Launches

If you've ever ridden a roller coaster, you know the anticipatory thrill mixed with dread fear as you come to the top of the tracks, just before you descend at full speed, plunging downward, downward, downward, until just before you hit the group, the car comes to a rest and you do it again. It's been a long time since I've ridden on a roller coaster, at least in a theme park. I ride an emotional one each day. Sometimes each hour. As I approach the September 1 public release of my book, I'm feeling the thrill of being at the top of the roller coaster. Now is the time to check my belt to see that it is secure. Today I went over my schedule with my wife, mapped out a projected course, and have been recruiting partners to share the load. While I want my book release to [...]

When Despair Meets Delight Launches2020-08-09T20:35:19-04:00
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